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The story of a cop

Director Gautam Menon ... penchant for the unusual.

THERE IS a restless energy about him. In fact that is the first thing that strikes you about this man who at the age of 30 has one successful feature film behind him He has found the going tough for his next film, ``Kaakha Kaakha." Gautam Menon is going through the usual tensions of getting his second major venture on the roll. "The script for `Kaakha Kaakha' was written much before `Minnale'", says Menon. ``I had met Ajith and Vikram whom I thought were good for the script. But neither wanted to play a cop. The next choice was Surya — I liked him especially after `Nanda'. Jyotika also came into the project and I thought she would be good as the heroine. But then came the hurdles I needed about Rs. 3.5 crores to make this film." What made Gautam go from one person to another — — the late GV to AVM, Vikram Singh to a couple of Telugu producers? ``I tried to bring down my Hindi producer to do the film in Tamil. Nothing was really moving.'' Somebody then took him to Mr. Dhaanu, who gave him an advance, the moment he heard the script. But the problems didn't end there. There had to be some slashing of the budget. `I'll give you a stipulated budget and you have to work within that,' Mr. Dhaanu said and I was so desperate I said okay," recalls Gautam. While he gave the promised Rs. 2.5 crores, Gautam put in the rest to finish the film. Read on for excerpts from the interview.

What is ``Kaakha Kaakha" all about?

It's about an encounter specialist. It's about a police officer. I don't have 200-300 policemen running all over the place. There is not even a police station. The story is about one man's problem, his duty, actions and the repercussions. A man who prefers to be alone. He doesn't want any emotional tags attached to his life, but at one point falls in love with a girl.

How did you get interested in this subject?

I read a whole lot of stuff about encounter specialists. If this film had been made in Hindi, I would have done it a little differently because encounter specialists are more relevant to Bombay than Chennai.

But why something like this?

For me it is just something different from ``Minnale."

Do you think violence has a more dramatic impact? Is that why you are making a film on a cop?

No. I don't believe in glorifying violence. Especially in this film, there is no glorification of violence. It runs as an undercurrent. There are honest police officers who want to make a difference. They want to protect people. In my film this guy goes about doing that, but is he able to protect his own family? People he is close to? That is the question.

Do you think filmmakers can promote harmony?

One cannot take a film so seriously. There are many good elements in a film. And you have to show bad people too. If you make a film about Gandhi, there has to be Godse. But then why should you be inspired by Godse? I don't like to give out a message at the end of every film. A film should make people forget their woes for three hours.

You are thirty. Do you think filmmaking is for youngsters?

Definitely. And I don't like following trends. What is a trend anyway?

Why is there so much plagiarism? Aren't today's youngsters capable of coming up with something original?

They are but it scares you when big directors lift scenes and take screenplay ideas. The problem I think is to do something fast.

Why can't you all make a change?

I don't think anybody wants a change. Anyway let people see ``Kaakha Kaakha" and if it works may be it will be in the direction towards a change.


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